There are currently over 3.8 billion social media users in the world, and that number is only expected to grow. Needless to say, if your business isn’t on social media – it should be. Keep in mind, however, that there’s more to having a social media presence than just posting the occasional photo.
If you want to reap the benefits of social media marketing, there needs to be a clear cut out plan. Otherwise, all your efforts will simply go down the drain and you’ll be wasting precious time and money without getting anything in return.
If you want to learn how to create a social media strategy that will keep people coming back for more of your great content, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s talk about how to create a social media marketing strategy that will make your business stand out (in a good way, of course).
How exactly can a good social media marketing strategy make a difference?
For starters, it’s going to improve every metric essential to business growth. It will improve your reach, brand awareness, engagement, following, and brand loyalty among others.
Let’s be honest. Every business’s ultimate goal is to make money and all these metrics are aimed at this very important goal.
This is especially true if the business is fairly new. You want to introduce your brand to people so they’d be aware of its existence.
Social media presents a great opportunity in achieving this goal because of the wide audience you can reach if you know how to play your cards right.
By having a platform where you can engage your audience, there’s a bigger chance of generating more sales and a higher ROI.
Again, all of this is possible if you know how to play your cards right which is why having a plan and an effective social media marketing strategy is essential for the business to achieve its goals.
The question now is what does an effective social media marketing strategy look like? Below are a couple of tips you can start implementing.
The first step in crafting a social media marketing strategy that works is to set goals. This is crucial because you can’t measure success without it, plain and simple.
But then again, you’re not just establishing goals just for the sake of having one. These goals need to be SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) and they need to align with the business’ objectives.
If one of the business’ objectives is to grow the brand, for instance, it makes sense for “awareness” to be part of your social media goals which could mean increasing the number of followers or social media shares.
You may also want to set separate goals for each of the social media networks the brand is in. You can use Twitter for customer service for instance then rely on Facebook and Instagram to drive traffic towards your website.
There really is no exact blueprint or one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to social media which is why it’s important for you to understand your business and audience by doing in-depth research.
How your social media posts will perform largely depends on your audience which is why it only makes sense to do some due diligence in knowing and understanding who your audience is.
Take the extra effort to know which social network they usually hang out on.
Are there more of them on Facebook or Instagram?
Is there a certain age group that engages more with the content you’re posting?
Is your product or brand catered more to women than men?
Knowing who your target audience is is just the tip of the iceberg though. You need to dig deeper and find out what kind of content they like and look forward to because this will help you determine the type of content you need to be creating regularly.
Is your audience more likely to engage with image or video content? Are they patient enough to read long captions or do they prefer shorter ones?
Understanding what your audience wants will go a long way in terms of content planning and creation because it’s almost sure that you’ll get high engagement for every post you publish.
The higher the engagement, the more likely you’ll get customers who are ready to buy whatever it is you have to offer.
If you don’t know much about social media, chances are you’ll be on every social media network available which is fine though it isn’t really necessary in most cases.
The truth is, you don’t have to be on each of them because managing multiple social media channels takes time and resources. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re meeting all your goals for each social media network but what if you aren’t?
Wouldn’t it be logical to spend more time on the channels where you’re getting the most engagement instead of continuously working on those where you’re barely getting some?
Choose the social media network that’s right for your business. If you’re getting more reach, engagement, and sales on Facebook and Instagram than LinkedIn and Twitter, then capitalize on those two instead.
There are social media networks that work for specific brands and finding out what works for yours is key to a successful social media marketing strategy.
Clothing or fashion brands for instance are more likely to succeed on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest because they are more visual in nature. They may not achieve the same amount of success though if you bring them over to LinkedIn or Twitter.
It’s safe to say that almost all businesses today, whether online or offline, have a social media presence. And why not?
With the number of people you can reach without much effort, it only makes sense for everyone to jump on the bandwagon. That being said, it comes as no surprise that the amount of competition will also be higher too.
You’d want to separate yourself from the competition as much as possible and your social media marketing strategy is one good way to do it.
You can start by knowing and understanding your competition.
The point of doing this competitive analysis is to get a better feel of the usual expectation in the industry or niche you’re in as well as find opportunities you can take advantage of.
If your closest competitor isn’t active on Twitter for instance, maybe it would work to your advantage if you up your Twitter game so you can monopolize your industry’s audience there.
It makes better sense to do this than focus on winning your competitor’s audience in a social media channel where they’re considered dominant.
This is another task you can add to the responsibilities of your social media manager so you can remain competitive despite the enormous number of competitors you have to deal with.
Timing is everything when it comes to social media.
While content will always be king, the timing of each post can have a maximum impact on engagement if you play your cards right.
Think about it. With the amount of content found in our newsfeeds, posts can easily get buried in a matter of minutes. If your target audience is usually online in the evening, they would likely miss your posts if you publish them in the morning.
That may sound trivial but with the way things are moving on social media, it’s definitely a possibility and if that happens, that’s a huge opportunity lost.
This is where a social media calendar comes in handy. By knowing the optimal days and posting times for your business (or the times when your audience is usually online), you’ll be able to achieve maximum reach and engagement.
Using scheduling programs like Hootsuite and Buffer would also go a long way instead of manually scheduling everything every single day. This will also save you lots of time if you have a social media manager doing these for you.
Whether we want to admit it or not, implementing a social media marketing strategy is more trial and error. Chances are, you won’t get things right immediately and you may need to adjust your strategy a couple of times.
That’s perfectly normal and acceptable. What’s important is you understand where your strategy stands by regularly analyzing and reviewing your metrics.
Which posts are driving the most visitors and engagement? Are you getting more hits with short video posts compared to the longer ones?
Use the data available to re-evaluate your strategy. Conduct more tests in terms of the kind of content you publish until you determine which of them produce better results.
Once you’ve identified the right strategy, all that’s left for you to do is repeat.
Conducting surveys is also a good strategy so your audience can directly tell you what’s working and what isn’t.
Social media moves very fast and if there’s one thing to always keep in mind, it’s that your strategy should evolve with the times.
New channels emerge, demographics shift, and algorithms change. If your business is going to be successful, it has to adapt to these changes.
All this being said, it’s fair to say that learning never stops when it comes to implementing a social media marketing strategy. If there’s a simple formula you can follow, it would have to be implement, test, evaluate, adjust, then repeat.
If you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed, remember that you can always hire a social media manager to help keep your pages running smoothly.
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